Oklahoma Senate approves bill to target untested rape kits

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OKLAHOMA CITY – With thousands of untested rape kits in Oklahoma, lawmakers are pushing for a change.

In February, officials told News 4 that there were 7,200 untested rape kits in Oklahoma.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma State Senate gave unanimous final approval to a bill that hopes to address some of that backlog.

SB 975 would create a timeline for law enforcement, giving them 20 days once they receive a rape kit to get it to the lab for testing. It also would mandate that rape kits are kept as evidence for 50 years.

If it is signed into law, the OSBI is also directed to adopt prioritization guidelines for the testing of untested kits. The guidelines must consider when the test was taken, the statute of limitations, and whether the victim knows the alleged perpetrator or not.

The OSBI and accredited crime laboratories are directed to adopt rules and guidelines for the submission of tested kits by January 1, 2020.

Senate Bill 975 now heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk for approval.

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